Colombia: Mine Explosion Kills 21

    Colombia: Mine Explosion Kills 21
    Last updated Mar 16, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters


    • On Thursday, Colombian Pres. Gustavo Petro announced that the death toll from a mine collapse on Tuesday had risen to 21 after rescue operations ended and failed to rescue 10 trapped miners.
    • The mine exploded in the Cundinamarca region of the country, with initial reports citing 11 deaths. The blast reportedly occurred when a spark from a miner's tool ignited a pocket of built-up gasses.
    • According to the Cundinamarca governor, nine miners survived the accident, while 10 were left 2.3k - 3k feet underground, despite the efforts of 100 rescue workers.
    • Fatal mining accidents are common in Colombia as a result of illegal or unregulated mining operations that often don't adhere to safety measures. Another significant and fatal accident occurred in June 2010 that killed 73 people.
    • From 2011 up until May 2022, Colombia has reportedly recorded 1,260 mining accidents, with an average of 103 related deaths per year.


    Narrative A

    Colombia has a long history of dangerous and deadly mining. While being the world's fourth largest exporter of coal, the country lacks the technical expertise to develop regulations that would prevent deadly explosions. The South American nation must engage with global mining experts in a meaningful way to take advantage of opportunities to not only increase mining safety but also reduce emissions that come along with the trade.

    Narrative B

    While there is still a long way to go, Pres. Gustavo Petro and his government have proven they care about miners and their families. They have implemented inspections and started taking cues from miners and their labor unions. They have also renewed their focus on increasing mining safety through effective regulations —with a focus on disaster prevention — while also increasing mining output and planning for responsible energy transition options.

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